What Do We Know So Far About Klement Balili Turning Himself In

The Albanian police has not yet clarified the circumstances around Klement Balili turning himself in to police. Balili, a suspected international drug lord, had been at large for more than two years before he decided to hand himself in yesterday.

Below Exit brings a summary of facts of the matter to date, based on statements by Minister of Interior Sander Lleshaj, General Director of Albanian Police Ardi Veliu, Mayor of Delvina Rigels Balili, who is also the nephew of the alleged drug trafficker Balili, and Balili’s lawyer Theodhori Sollaku.

Negotiations before turning himself in

None of the two statements on Klement Balili’s decision to turn himself in clarifies the way negotiations were carried out.

Director Ardi Veliu said that yesterday “I was contacted by [his] relatives, and after three months of negotiations I went personally [to fetch him] with another escorting car [behind mine].” Veliu’s statement implies that Balili’s relatives contacted him just for the surrender to be carried out through Veliu, while three-month-long negotiations were not led by Veliu himself.

Mayor of Delvina Rigels Balili, Klement Balili’s nephew, said first that he conducted negotiations, and later that his uncle’s lawyers did so.

“[Negotiations started] the moment lawyers notified us that the [prosecution’s] file was complete and ready to be submitted to the court.

. [Klement Balili] was not arrested. [He] turned himself in.

It was me who went to the police director’s [Ardi Veliu] office and negotiated. Today we made the surrender to police possible, as we were told. [Communication with Balili] was carried out through the lawyers; the lawyer negotiated with the police director.”

In his public statement Minister Sander Lleshaj involved the Albanian secret service and foreign partners as part of the operation for Balili’s self-surrender.

““The Albanian Police concluded a long, complicated and very important operation on Klement Balili’s surrender, following an operational-tracking process in collaboration with the Albanian secret service and foreign partners.”

Conditions for turning himself in

Police Director Ardi Veliu explained Balili’s four conditions to turn himself in:

“Balili had some conditions: not to be maltreated, his legal rights for the fulfillment of conditions in his cell to be met, not to be extradited to Greece, and for the act to be considered as self-surrender.”

Veliu did not make clear whether the Albanian institutions met these conditions or not. However, the fact that Balili ctually turned himself in might imply that conditions were met.

Minister of Interior Lleshaj said about conditions that “we offered Balili the assurance for a just legal process.

Turning himself in

Klement Balili turned himself in yesterday at 08:45 am in Finiq, close to Delvina in Saranda county. He traveled in a car to the seemingly prearranged meeting point with Police Director Ardi Veliu.

The following persons were present at that moment: Klement Balili, Director Ardi Veliu, Mayor of Delvina Rigels Balili, Director of Vlora Police Gentian Shehaj and three judicial police officers, who took Balili to Tirana.

Klement Balili traveled to Tirana in Director Veliu’s car. It’s not clear whether the three officers traveled in the same car.

Director Veliu stated:

“I went [to fetch him] personally with another escorting car [behind mine].”

Mayor Balili stated:

 “I had no time to ask him [Klement Balili] where he had stayed; I stayed with him only briefly – I just fetched him and handed him to the police director. The director came and fetched him in the Delvina area.”

Klement Balili’s lawyer Theodhori Sollaku stated:

“He turned himself in in Saranda.”